Tar Heel Girls State Records
Scope and Contents
The Tar Heel Girls State Records span from 1940-1998, with the bulk dating from 1960-1987. The program began on the Women's College campus in 1939 and stayed at UNCG until 2000, after which time it moved to Catawba College.
The Administrative Documents Series contains papers produced while organizing the Girls State conferences, including programs that list daily events and other documents necessary to programming such as ballots, certificates, financial papers, and literature about governmental processes for participants. This series also contains extensive correspondence between administrators, including ALA members Ione Mebane Mann and Ruth Scarborough, who were involved in the program from its early years and participated for several decades, C.O. Phillips, director until 1962, and Clarence Shipton, director from 1963 until 1981.
The Participant Documents Series contains meeting minutes and legislation created by students in the program and contains City Papers, State Papers, and Newsletters. City Papers pertain to the meetings of individual cities, usually comprised of about 30 girls responsible for choosing a style of government, electing officials, and organizing small events throughout the week. State Papers pertain to large-group meetings, where students could campaign for positions and participate in writing and voting on bills. Many of these bills address controversial national issues. Participants also created daily newsletters during the week of Girls State, printing editorials, poems, occurrences from city meetings, jabs at the opposing party, and gossip.
The Newspaper Clippings Series contains clippings from local papers about individual Girls State participants and events throughout the week.
The Audio-Visual Materials Series contains large group photographs of the students from almost every year, as well as several photos of girls elected to official positions. Also included in the series are three phonographic LP records.
- 1940 - 1998
- Majority of material found within 1960 - 1987
- Tar Heel Girls State (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.
Biographical or Historical Information
Sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Tar Heel Girls State began in 1939 as an intensive, week-long program that allowed rising high school senior girls to learn about government by forming imaginary cities and participating in the legislative process as citizens and as elected officials. The girls lived in residence halls, chose their membership in either the "Federalist" or "Nationalist" party, campaigned for positions, elected representatives at the city and state levels, debated about controversial issues of their time and wrote legislation to address them, listened to speakers, produced a daily newspaper, and participated in talent shows and other recreational activities. When it began, the program hosted over 180 girls, but by 1998 the number of participants numbered over 300.
Girls were selected for participation in the program competitively, based on school performance and good citizenship. Each American Legion post was allowed to send two girls, and at the end of the week, two outstanding leaders were selected to represent North Carolina at Girls Nation in Washington, DC.
4.50 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
Language of Materials
Tar Heel Girls State was founded in 1939 as a workshop on government and citizenship for rising high school senior women sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. It took place on the Women's College campus (later UNCG) for a week each summer, where students lived in residence halls, formed imaginary cities, and participated in the process of democratic government as citizens and legislators.
The Tar Heel Girls State Records date from 1940-1998 and contain correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, and newsletters. They document the legislation created by students, meetings of cities, administrative decisions about the program, daily schedules for participants, and special events such as trips and speakers.
The collection is arranged into the following series: 1. Administrative Documents 2. Participant Documents 3. Newspaper Clippings 4. Audio-Visual Materials Each series is arranged chronologically.
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Processed by Lauren Wallis in April 2011.
- Tar Heel Girls State Records
- Lauren Wallis and Jennifer Motszko
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